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Moorea is a high island in French Polynesia, part of the Society Islands, 17 km (roughly 9mi) northwest of Tahiti. Several ferries go to the Vaiare wharf in Moorea daily from Papeete, the Tahitian capital. Moorea's Temae airport (MOZ) has connections to the international airport in Papeete and onward to other Society Islands.

The island is administratively part of the commune (municipality) of Moorea-Maiao, itself in the administrative subdivision of the Windward Islands.

Because of its stunning scenery and accessibility to Papeete, Moorea is visited by many western tourists who travel to French Polynesia. Especially popular as a honeymoon destination, Moorea can often be seen in advertisements in American wedding magazines.

From above, the shape of the island vaguely resembles a fork, with its two nearly symmetrical bays opening to the north side of the island: Cook's (or Paopao) Bay and Oponohu Bay. The island was formed as a volcano 1.5 to 2.5 mya, the result of a geologic hotspot in the mantle under the oceanic plate that formed the whole of the Society Archipelago. It is theorized that the current bays were formerly river basins that filled during the Holocene searise.

Charles Darwin was inspired for his theory regarding the formation of coral atolls when looking down upon Moorea standing on a peak on Tahiti. He described it as a "picture in a frame," referring to the barrier reef encircling the island.

Don the Beachcomber lived here for some time until his houseboat was destroyed by tropical cyclones.

Moorea means "yellow lizard" in Tahitian.[citation needed] An older name for the island is Aimeho, sometimes spelled Aimeo or Eimeo, (among other spellings misunderstood by early visitors with no knowledge of language). Early Western colonists and voyagers also referred to Moorea as York Island.

The University of California, Berkeley maintains the Richard B. Gump South Pacific Research Station on the west coast of Cook's Bay.

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Additional Photos by Paolo Brigida (zizzer77) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 147 W: 0 N: 84] (721)
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